Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's over for Corrine Brown; Al Lawson Ousts Longtime Representative in Redrawn 5th District

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's over for Corrine Brown; Al Lawson Ousts Longtime Representative in Redrawn 5th District

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Patterson

Embattled U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown lost her bid for a 13th term in Congress on Tuesday, outpolled by former state Sen. Al Lawson while a federal fraud trial loomed ahead of her.

With 83 percent of the precincts in U.S. House District 5 counted, Lawson held 52 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Brown, the rest going to LaShonda "L.J." Holloway.

Brown's 1992 election to Congress ended 117 years of no African-American Floridian being sent to Congress.

"It has been an honor serving the people," Brown said, adding her constituents learned to expect personalized attention.

Brown said she was proud of the legacy of projects, including roadwork representing billions of dollars, that she emphasized during her campaign. She said the main lesson of the primary was that Democrats must turn out in larger numbers for the general election "or we all will have sad faces."

Tuesday's loss was Brown's first in more than 30 years.

After losing in a 1980 bid to enter the Florida House of Representatives, she held a seat in the Legislature from 1982 to 1992, when she entered Congress in a carefully drawn minority-access district.

Brown's loss, coinciding with U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw's retirement, means Northeast Florida's senior House member may be U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, who first took office in 2013 and faces a November general election challenge.

Lawson is an insurance agent and lobbyist who served 28 years in the Florida Legislature, building a base of support in Tallahassee and rural communities close to the Georgia border.

"I promise to be a leader District 5 can trust and to work hard to deliver for the people of North Florida," Lawson said as supporters in Tallahassee celebrated his win in the Democratic Party primary for the Fifth Congressional District.

In November, Lawson faces Republican Glo Smith of Clay County, who challenged Brown in 2014 when the 5th Congressional District snaked from Jacksonville to Orlando in a winding route a judge later ruled violated the state constitution's Fair Districts amendment against gerrymandering. …

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